Another friend passes, rodeo wins, barrel races, schools and clinics |

Another friend passes, rodeo wins, barrel races, schools and clinics

The weather has finally warmed up. More moisture would be nice as the grass is trying to come, but I think spring may be upon us.

We lost a good friend on March 26. Will Stearns passed away at his home near Newcastle, WY, with his wife Rhonda, brother Joe and kids Shelly and Cody at his side. He had been in the hospital over three weeks before being sent home to be with family and friends. Will was a believer, so his journey over the divide was a happy one, though hard for those left behind. Stearns was first and foremost a cowboy. He could have been walking down Broadway in a space suit and one would have asked “What’s that cowboy doing here in that space suit?” He’d done a lot of things in his almost 73 years, but he was always a cowboy. He could ride a bronc, both on a rocky mountain side or in the arena, and do it with style and class. He had probably ridden as many miles as any man living today, starting when he was a tiny boy on the home ranch on the South Dakota/Wyoming border. His wife Rhonda described him one time as a centaur. How true: he was absolutely a part of the horse he was on. He knew horses, cattle, country and how to work all three together so was a top hand wherever he was. He was also a dear and faithful friend to many and taught so many young guys how to improve their bronc riding skills. He was his wife Rhonda’s dearest friend too. He told me once that he fell in love with her when she was a little, curly haired girl and never got over it. He teased her that his “sorrel filly” had become “the roan mare” over the years, and she always chuckled at him when he did. My husband and I sang at their wedding 21 years ago and watched love in action in their relationship in the ensuing years. Services for Stearns were Saturday, March 30, in Newcastle with a sendoff of good music and cowboy stories and burial at Ft. Lee Cemetery in the big, open country on Black Thunder Creek. A full obituary will be in next week’s paper. The reunion he’s having on the other side of the river ought to be a fine one, and God has a good hand to put to work on all that green grass. Thanks for the memories and the laughter, you ol’ son-of-a-buck! We’re sure going to miss you here.

Nikki Steffes, Vale, SD barrel racer and ranch girl, scored some good checks in Texas recently. She rode her old friend Sky High Guy at Houston and at Rodeo Austin and pulled nearly $3,000 at Houston and $7,250 at the Shootout in Austin. This was the good gelding’s first trip to the big rodeos, too, plus they hadn’t been together for a while, so the wins were extra sweet for Nikki. The gelding is owned by Bill and Deb Myers and is by Frenchmans Guy and out of the Pie In The Sky mare, Fleeting Pie. Congrats to all!

Also at Austin, Jason Miller won third in the average in the steer wrestling. Team roping was won by Keven Daniel/Chase Tryan (Helena, MT). Cort Scheer, Elsmere, NE, placed fourth in the average in saddle broncs and Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, SD, placed fifth in the barrels. Incidentally, Lisa is fourth in the WNFR standings right now, too.

The EHV-1 in Montana has another positive horse. The one in Flathead Co. is doing better and the committee at the Ravalli Co. event in early March is contacting the participants who might have been in contact with that horse. The second horse is in Gallatin Co. and there seems to be no connection between the two. The Gallatin Co. horse had arrived from California about three weeks ago and probably contracted it there. There are two types of EHV-1, the neuropathogenic and the wild type. Both of these horses have the less deadly wild type.

The 7th Annual Triple Turn Classic barrel race will be April 20-21 at Bowman, ND. It’s an open 4D both days. Pre-entries are due by April 10. Entry forms, rules and draw can be found on You can call Ali Miller at 701-523-1361 or email her at

Don’t forget the excellent 28th Annual Korkow Ranch Rodeo School April 26-28. There will be pro instruction in barebacks, saddle broncs, bull riding, and bull fighting, plus jr. bull riding. On top of all that good instruction, they’re bringing in Justin Sports Medicine Team’s Deven Dice to help students learn proper stretching techniques, plus how to avoid and treat injuries. Email them at or call 605-224-5607 for info. I’m sure that you need to get your deposit in immediately, so hustle up!

There are going to be three one-day Ed Wright barrel clinics in Belle Fourche, SD, on May 17-19. Mary Vroman is putting them on and can be reached at 605-580-2000.

Well, that’s my circle for the week. Be sure and send me anything you’d like to see in here! I hope it’s raining at your place!